Writing has saved my life, time and time again. It has allowed me to let out my emotions and feelings during moments when it was too difficult and painful to speak; when I was shocked and overwhelmed into calmness by what was happening. During moments when the heartbreak was way too strong and I felt I couldn’t stay alive and get through whatever I was facing, putting my hands on the keyboard of my laptop and frantically typing away as tears fell down my face, helped me regain some clarity on the situations. By typing up my emotions, thoughts, and rambles, I was able to breathe again and regain a sense of inner peace while sifting through heavy emotions internally – it helped me sit down and sew my new or reopened emotional wounds, and to give the wound the care and attention it needed to begin healing. It was my inclination to write up old-fashioned style letters to then send to those I care about through email and chat, that then helped me reach out through the use of words and at least share a few more positive words of reassurance and encouragement, in hopes of only wishing the best of healing energy for them and their personal journey. The writing was and continues to be the tool by which I navigate difficult situations/moments, with the intention of wishing to help further the healing journey for both myself and others. Communication – whether it’s as bold as verbal expression and as quiet but still powerful as written expression – always eases situations where conflict is very high. It might feel uncomfortable and even really vulnerable and scary to just speak your mind through words. But it can liberate you and empower you. It can remind you that you have a mind and thoughts of your own. Overall, it can remind you of your inner emotional potential and a power that is yours and only yours to embrace.
Ironically enough though, words can also deeply hurt people and emotionally affect people in a way that can irreversibly scar us and remain in our memory, for life. It causes us to relive the content of the words internally whenever triggered. So I would say it’s important to be careful and vigilant with whatever you say. When it comes to being careful about how we are releasing emotions through writing, I think the safest way to approach is to always keep good intentions in mind. Practice strong empathy and compassion, which can help us meet others halfway. This way, we aren’t writing just for the sake of letting ourselves feel better, but also in hopes of providing words that heal and don’t harm the person, it’s directed towards.
Sometimes we write things out and send them out during moments of strong, turbulent anger. But then the anger passes and we’re left with self-deprecating thoughts, a heavy conscience, self-resentment, guilt, worry and most of all, regret. Regret for sharing words that were undoubtedly rude, mean and unkind. Our emotions can strongly compel us to just write down words and aim them directly towards certain people. But emotions do pass, whereas words remain. Even if we delete the message and apologize, we can’t take back the thing we said or the hurt we caused. So, I think it would be fair to say that just like written expression can help us heal, it also gives us the power to heal others. And it’s up to us to then hold ourselves responsible and accountable for not abusing the power of being able to connect and interact with others. I say this because I’ve been on the sending and receiving end of harsh words. It can break us down or build us up. We should focus on uplifting others because in many ways, psychologically, empowering others uplifts us. It embeds healing positivity and hopes in our minds, towards others, and the future.
From experience, healing starts just as soon as the trauma is inflicted. Acknowledging the existence of the trauma by writing about it and the people involved (whether on paper or online) helps us accept and understand that we were indeed hurt. It helps us take our internal emotional turmoil and convert it into a more concrete form that others then gain access to by reading. How we cope with trauma is individual and healing itself is not linear. To an outsider, how you behave as you process the painful emotions may come across as ‘crazy’ to them. You might be spewing out long paragraphs of text online on social media of some sort. Whether it’s a blog or your Facebook wall. To others, it may be extremely annoying for them to have to scroll through the newsfeed and they might assume you’ve lost your mind. But for you, it can be a way of expressing yourself in a way that you may otherwise not, in person.
At the same time, while we write and express ourselves – especially online – we start to create and build our own narrative. People will then judge us based on this narrative we create, through how they interpret that narrative. So, for instance, if your words strike a nerve of someone reading it, they might screen capture it and send it to a few other people in their friend’s circle. If your name is on that piece/post/writing, your identity will be exposed and your thoughts will be shared with people you don’t know. So, in a sense, I do believe that there’s a thin line between written expression serving as a source of healing and written expression working against us and allowing others to then use our words against us. I know for me, the fear of having my own words used against me was what slowly caused me to write less and less often, for a while, until I realized that my writing voice is more important to me than the judgment of those who read my words.
We can’t please everyone. And we can’t be liked by everyone. So I believe that over time, writing can help strengthen our sense of self-confidence and rebuild our social interaction skills, especially after long periods of sadness and grief, which can cause us to recoil from the world and obsess over our own emotional wounds. Writing out our most deep and intimate thoughts don’t need to be publicized and shared with others at all but in cases where they are, it does give others emotional power over us in that they gain access to our mind and emotions – to our strengths and weaknesses. Writing can heal, but only if caution is taken in outlining our emotional boundaries and only sharing what we feel comfortable sharing.
Do you use writing to express your emotions and heal? Leave a comment below!